Pelosi could face ‘nightmare’ scenario where COVID-19 denies her enough votes to retain speaker’s gavel

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Amid persistent allegations of voter fraud, President Trump’s chances of overturning the 2020 election have gone from a longshot to all but nonexistent.

In fact, Trump supporters may have more hope in seeing Speaker Nancy Pelosi come up short in her quest to retain her gavel in the next Congress due to COVID-19 — this being as good a salve as there could be in having to face a Trump loss.

 

While the American people are being told that Joe Biden will be their next president, Pelosi saw an undeniable red wave in the House and holds the slimmest majority in modern history.

So slim, in fact, that a handful of Democrats not able to be present next month when selecting the next speaker could spell doom for the 80-year-old California Democrat.

With the Biden administration selections in mind, The Hill reported that Democrats will likely hold a precarious 220-213 majority and Pelosi had 15 defections from her party in 2018.

Adding to the mix, lawmakers must be present on the House floor to cast a vote for Speaker, as emergency rules, passed by Democrats in May allowing members to vote remotely, or by proxy, expire with the new Congress — new rules governing the 117th Congress will be adopted after the Speaker vote.

“The combination of factors creates the chance that Democrats could face a dilemma on Jan. 3 in which Pelosi locks up the Democratic support to remain Speaker, but coronavirus concerns — illnesses, quarantines or otherwise — prevent a sufficient number of them from being in the Capitol to log their votes,” wrote The Hill’s Mike Lillis and Scott Wang.

The article notes that the process would be thrown into chaos if Pelosi fails to secure support from half the voting members.

“In the Democrats’ nightmare scenario, the math could tilt so far in the Republicans’ favor that it yields a GOP Speaker,” the duo said.

Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., was quoted mentioning House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., as a potential speaker in such a scenario.

“Let’s say, just theoretically, we had six or eight people out with Covid and the Republicans have none,” Yarmuth said. “They probably could elect McCarthy.”

With five lawmakers testing positive for COVID-19 last week, resulting in a total of 35 lawmakers contracting the virus, the scenario described above is entirely possible.

All of which puts added emphasis on Pelosi being a vocal proponent of wearing masks, even requiring members to wear a mask while speaking on the House floor.

Given past practice, Pelosi will assure she has the numbers needed before a vote — the Democratic caucus has already nominated her for speaker, with no opposition.

But keep in mind that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez just declared that Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer need to go.

“I do think we need new leadership in the Democratic Party,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a recent interview on the The Intercept. “I think one of the things that I have struggled with, I think that a lot of people struggle with, is the internal dynamics of the House has made it such that there [are] very little options for succession.”

AOC deemed herself not quite ready yet to fill Pelosi’s shoes.

“The House is extraordinarily complex and I’m not ready,” she said. “It can’t be me. I know that I couldn’t do that job.”

Tom Tillison

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